The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Alexandra Isacson’s “Narcotic Silks”

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Cathedral

For Raymond Carver

Exhausted beyond dusk’s edge, she rushes into the smoke shop.
Patchouli smoke laces, washing into inks of green & violet tattoos.
Hendrix music floats, & neon light spikes windows of mouth
blown pipes, feathered clips, & amulets. People lounge on pillows,
centering a huffing hookah & shuffling tarot. She asks about
boxes. A man exhales the ocean’s breath, waving her slowly to the
back. Beyond goddess palettes & flickering cinematic clips, she
finds empty stacks: Cubaos, Trinidads, Romeo y Juliets, & others.
How much, she asks. Just take them all, he says. No charge.
Purses, altered books, & student art supplies’sift into fine colored
sand granules; layering her consciousness.

This selection comes from Alexandra Isacson’s Narcotic Silks, available from Dancing Girl Press. Purchase your copy here!

Alexandra Isacson is an Arizona State graduate who lives and teaches in the urban Phoenix area. Her poetry chapbook, Narcotic Silks, is recently published by Dancing Girl Press. She is also the author of Poetic Anthropologies, a tribute to the visual arts & humanities, published by Medulla Press (2011). Her poetry & prose appears in PANKNew World Writing (formerly The Mississippi Review), Blink Ink, FRiGG, & elsewhere. She is a Pushcart (2012, 2010) & Best of the Net Anthology (2009) nominee.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Alexandra Isacson’s “Narcotic Silks”

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Salem, Mass.

I almost killed a man a year ago in Bostonhe
lugged my trunk up three flights of stairs.

In the vintage boudoir of rose wine & chocolates,

breathless, he rested beside a voluptuous
canopy iron-framed bed. I poured him a drink,

& his spirits lifted. He touched his forehead
with a cotton cloth, making small talk & asked.

I had packed my whole Lower East Side summer in there.

This selection comes from Alexandra Isacson’s Narcotic Silks, available from Dancing Girl Press. Purchase your copy here!

Alexandra Isacson is an Arizona State graduate who lives and teaches in the urban Phoenix area. Her poetry chapbook, Narcotic Silks, is recently published by Dancing Girl Press. She is also the author of Poetic Anthropologies, a tribute to the visual arts & humanities, published by Medulla Press (2011). Her poetry & prose appears in PANKNew World Writing (formerly The Mississippi Review), Blink Ink, FRiGG, & elsewhere. She is a Pushcart (2012, 2010) & Best of the Net Anthology (2009) nominee.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Alexandra Isacson’s “Narcotic Silks”

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Wind Floozies

Petal turbans unfurl,
wet- winged in sibilant
laced lips of hushed pinks.

Buoyant calyxes, wind floozies,
gather in the flounce
of ribbon party dressesdrowsed
chiffons nod & drift off:
blowsy drunk with Bordeaux,
canapés, & raspberry truffles.

Bacchanal bees shimmer dizzy,
wing in dusted navel rings,
airbrush with pollinated feet
in sweet stings of stamen frenzies.

This selection comes from Alexandra Isacson’s Narcotic Silks, available from Dancing Girl Press. Purchase your copy here!

Alexandra Isacson is an Arizona State graduate who lives and teaches in the urban Phoenix area. Her poetry chapbook, Narcotic Silks, is recently published by Dancing Girl Press. She is also the author of Poetic Anthropologies, a tribute to the visual arts & humanities, published by Medulla Press (2011). Her poetry & prose appears in PANKNew World Writing (formerly The Mississippi Review), Blink Ink, FRiGG, & elsewhere. She is a Pushcart (2012, 2010) & Best of the Net Anthology (2009) nominee.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Alexandra Isacson’s “Narcotic Silks”

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Silk Hexes

1. Sea Mysteries

In the equestrian season of sea tide & sand swept anemone, he
shared his sky glass. Beneath the curve of his raven wing, he
dazzled her breathless with the many mirrors of the earth.
Sometimes, it was the birth of stars in the nebula of Orion, & other
times, the four Galilean moons of Jupiter. By flowing silk mane of
horseback, they spiraled into the Milky Way, & he offered her the
rings of Saturn. Despite his alchemies, her poetries vexed him,
tying his mind in knots. Once he got lost in the tangle of her words
& hair & could not find the Northern Star, Polaris, without her
direction. Together, in the tether of leather reins, & thigh grasp of
horseback, she shone like Venus to his naked eye.

2. The Atlas Moth

She stole away clothed in cool moon glow. During entrancing
walks, she visited the liquid fields of the Atlas Moth. She reflected
in the triangulated windows of his wings. He exhaled silk threads
from the underbelly of his soul. In the split spectrum of alembics,
she spun herself into the skin of dancing veils.

This selection comes from Alexandra Isacson’s Narcotic Silks, available from Dancing Girl Press. Purchase your copy here!

Alexandra Isacson is an Arizona State graduate who lives and teaches in the urban Phoenix area. Her poetry chapbook, Narcotic Silks, is recently published by Dancing Girl Press. She is also the author of Poetic Anthropologies, a tribute to the visual arts & humanities, published by Medulla Press (2011). Her poetry & prose appears in PANKNew World Writing (formerly The Mississippi Review), Blink Ink, FRiGG, & elsewhere. She is a Pushcart (2012, 2010) & Best of the Net Anthology (2009) nominee.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Alexandra Isacson’s “Narcotic Silks”

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Naked Chardonnay

Before she slips off her silk
kimono, with paint- stained hands
he holds a wintered Russian sable
brush & slowly strokes her cheek
down to her throat.

Her body tenses & softens into
a winged opera of evening light.

His touch was like the supple brush
of a mink a lover had warmed her
with during a snow flurried walk
from The Lincoln Center to catch
a cab for dinner, drinks, & a hotel.

Now, sharing chardonnay,
she kisses his mouth & dark
stippled face. Casting off herself,
she disappears into canvases
charcoaled & crayoned in winter’s
dusk & other subdued nudes.

This selection comes from Alexandra Isacson’s Narcotic Silks, available from Dancing Girl Press. Purchase your copy here!

Alexandra Isacson is an Arizona State graduate who lives and teaches in the urban Phoenix area. Her poetry chapbook, Narcotic Silks, is recently published by Dancing Girl Press. She is also the author of Poetic Anthropologies, a tribute to the visual arts & humanities, published by Medulla Press (2011). Her poetry & prose appears in PANKNew World Writing (formerly The Mississippi Review), Blink Ink, FRiGG, & elsewhere. She is a Pushcart (2012, 2010) & Best of the Net Anthology (2009) nominee.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Martha Silano’s “Reckless Lovely”

martha

Hope is the thing with

an important message, a pressing urgency
I reckon Hope’s entitled to. Hope says Hello,

my dear, and it goes from there: how are you,
hope you’re well, bit hot over here in Burkina

Faso, then Hope’s done with asking after
my chargers, my panes, the windstorm nudging

my touch-and-go, has no time for me
or my closely-monitored percolations. Hope’s

not perched; she’s pouncing, marooned
to the tune of $4.5 million. But Hope’s right:

her choosing me is a question she knows
she must answer. And big surprise: the Almighty

willed it, decided against her two sadistic aunts
because, Hope says, I’m different, won’t sell

her dead mom’s home to a Mr. Molson Steven
(though who can say for sure?). Hope’s favorite

language? Waiting to hear you soonest. Hope’s
solution: hide behind a bush so when I call

she can answer, or whatever (it’s against the law).
Just like staying in the prison, says Hope before

signing off in the name of a nearby privilege,
in the name of what I need from you is this.

This selection comes from Martha Silano’s Reckless Lovely, available from Saturnalia Books. Purchase your copy here!

Martha Silano is the author of four books of poetryincluding The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, chosen by Campbell McGrath as the winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and Reckless Lovely (Saturnalia Books 2014). She also co-edited, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice (Two Sylvias Press 2013). Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Paris Review, Poetry, Orion, American Poetry Review, and North American Review, where she received the 2014 James Hearst Poetry Prizeas well as in many anthologies, including American Poetry: The Next Generation and The Best American Poetry 2009. Martha serves as poetry editor of Crab Creek Review, curates Beacon Bards, a Seattle-based reading series, and teaches at Bellevue College.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Martha Silano’s “Reckless Lovely”

bumblebee  close-up

Summons and Petition for Name Change

Abelmosk. Abracadabra. Abruzzi. Absolute.
Bonzery. Bogan. Love’s barometer. Bristly ballerina.
Choo-choo cherry sanctum. Cutie-cute caldera.
Dim sum-my dilberry. Down there Daiquiri.
Ear of Eden. Eminently Earthy. Empress Gensho.
Fandango-ing funnel. Fox foot. Flamingo.
Geranium in the Gate of the Gourd. Gentian’s grin.
Hallelujah in the huckleberry. Ho-Ho-Kus.
Inner Inagaddadavida. Ink on the isthmus.
Jupiter’s Big Red Spot. Un-January. Jambalaya.
Knit Kit. Kittewake. Kinnick-kinnick. Nether katzenjammer.
Laniferous lability. Hello Kitty lunch box. Lettuce cup asunder.
Mythic mouth. Mama’s milk pan melts Emanuel. Maenadic moon.
Name It Not, Why Not? Nemorous nook. Nefertiti’s niche.
O’Keefe. Unfrozen o-ring. Open the sunroom window.
Persimmon portal. Passworded pomegranate. Paisy-waisy.
Quaint Quiver. Quaking qat. Unquashable squab.
Rorschach-y rivulets. Ragmatical raven. Electric rabbit.
Susquehanna. Multi-syllabic sizzler. So strawberry.
Too much fun. Tell me another. Tisket. Tasket. Trisket.
Umbilical’s prologue. My own undeniable. Under my undies.
Velvet-it’s-not. Venus vector. Victory garden. Vroom-vroom.
Webbed Wednesday. Whipped up elixir. Wowie. Wha-wha.
Xizang. Xebec. Anti-xeric. Excitable raptor. Fringy xenon.
Yeti. Yangtze. Ygdrasil. Yucca whipplei. Yokozuma..Yapese dime.
Zounds-mound. Spangled zarf. Naughty zloty. Zerk gone berserk.

This selection comes from Martha Silano’s Reckless Lovely, available from Saturnalia Books. Purchase your copy here!

Martha Silano is the author of four books of poetryincluding The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, chosen by Campbell McGrath as the winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and Reckless Lovely (Saturnalia Books 2014). She also co-edited, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice (Two Sylvias Press 2013). Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Paris Review, Poetry, Orion, American Poetry Review, and North American Review, where she received the 2014 James Hearst Poetry Prizeas well as in many anthologies, including American Poetry: The Next Generation and The Best American Poetry 2009. Martha serves as poetry editor of Crab Creek Review, curates Beacon Bards, a Seattle-based reading series, and teaches at Bellevue College.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Martha Silano’s “Reckless Lovely”

martha

La Gioconda

I’m deaf, I’m in mourning; I’ve just had a 2nd child.
I’m toothless, palsied, pregnant, paralyzed.

Clearly, I’m a reflection of the painter’s neuroses;
clearly, I have a toothache. Turn the canvas

sideways, at a 45-degree angle. Scan the dark swirls:
and you’ll see them, the buffalo and the lion. Twenty

animals in all, including a snake representing
envy, a leopard because its skin kills the wanting

of what we don’t have. I’m the Jolly Lady, wife
of Francesco del Giocondo; I’m Lisa (a real-life person);

I’m idealized, the artist’s mother, the Madonna (a mule
nestles between my breasts—have you spotted

the ape?) Superimposed on a Chinese landscape,
I’m the eternal female, queen of sepulchral secrets.

My half-smile is the smile of enlightenment,
and those glowing hands? So Buddha. In 1962,

posing with Jackie and JFK, I was valued at $720 million,
six times the price of a Pollock or de Kooning.

Some have said that in my placid eyes tiny letters
and numbers reveal I’m Gian Giamono Caprotti,

my painter’s apprentice, but don’t buy it.
Forget the theories relating to my lack

of eyebrows and lashes, lost not from plucking
but the ravages of restoration. Housed at Versailles,

entwined myself in the Sun King’s cucumber patch,
silently basked in Le Tuileries while Napoleon, quaffing

his coveted Chambertin, scuffed around in beat-up red slippers.
When WW2 broke out, they wrapped me in waterproof paper,

whisked me to a land of poppies and castles. Behind
two layers of bulletproof glass, I live on at the Louvre,

where each year seven million spend an average
of fifteen seconds discerning my ambiguous mood. I’m

unfinished; I’ve been stuffed beneath a trench coat, smuggled
back to Florence. Doused with acid, stoned, pummeled

with a teacup. Touched-up, varnished, de-varnished, infested
with insects; fumigated. I’m a miasma of optical illusions;

my paint is cracking. My visage excites the random noise
in your visual system; emotion recognition software reveals

I’m 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful, two pinches angry,
one iota neutral. You love me like you love your sphinx,

your flying saucers, your Area 51; I’m your koan,
your inscrutable floozy, your syphilitic conundrum,

your angelic aspara, your enduring durga. You’re here
because I render you agog, aha-less, uncomfortably mum.

This selection comes from Martha Silano’s Reckless Lovely, available from Saturnalia Books. Purchase your copy here!

Martha Silano is the author of four books of poetryincluding The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, chosen by Campbell McGrath as the winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and Reckless Lovely (Saturnalia Books 2014). She also co-edited, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice (Two Sylvias Press 2013). Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Paris Review, Poetry, Orion, American Poetry Review, and North American Review, where she received the 2014 James Hearst Poetry Prizeas well as in many anthologies, including American Poetry: The Next Generation and The Best American Poetry 2009. Martha serves as poetry editor of Crab Creek Review, curates Beacon Bards, a Seattle-based reading series, and teaches at Bellevue College.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Martha Silano’s “Reckless Lovely”

bumblebee  close-up

Damage Status

after Gwendolyn Brooks

My polonium, your magnetism. My governess, my garret; your Rue Cuvier,
your aromatic woods. Me: the stilled flickering stars; you: feverish heat; us:
opposite of stilted, a French-windowed Fontainebleau, tourmaline and topaz,
main-squeezing quartz, or let’s math it: tight quarters equal high-frequency vibrations.
We vowed in lovely blue with bicycles, with heather and gorse,
returned to the lab, to X, and the loves kept coming—the unborn/unknown
balancing the known. My constant current, your unchangeable. My pitchblende,
my nameless, our 1/10-gram proof; your tumults, our intermingled script.
What gleaming! What fission! What detonation (your/my prize). Anemia,
hysteria, sexual decline: the things we Curies would cure! Marriages that strain breath,
burn skin, glow with flowering failure. Chain reaction of aches.

This selection comes from Martha Silano’s Reckless Lovely, available from Saturnalia Books. Purchase your copy here!

Martha Silano is the author of four books of poetryincluding The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, chosen by Campbell McGrath as the winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and Reckless Lovely (Saturnalia Books 2014). She also co-edited, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice (Two Sylvias Press 2013). Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Paris Review, Poetry, Orion, American Poetry Review, and North American Review, where she received the 2014 James Hearst Poetry Prizeas well as in many anthologies, including American Poetry: The Next Generation and The Best American Poetry 2009. Martha serves as poetry editor of Crab Creek Review, curates Beacon Bards, a Seattle-based reading series, and teaches at Bellevue College.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Martha Silano’s “Reckless Lovely”

martha

Pry Bar Constellation

At the planetarium the docent aimed her light-up pointer at three stars.
This is the Pry Bar Constellation, she said. This is how the mummies

spoke to Osiris, their gauzy mouths pried open like cans
of black olives. But when I googled Egyptian astronomy

I got nothing—not the Imperishables, stars that do not rise
or set in the land of the Sphinx, not the story about the crown

of Sah, which they rode for seventy days to the Underworld,
sort of like Egyptian Persephones, returning for the flooding

of the Nile. What I’d like to see is a green-backed heron wading
in the Nile. What I’d like to say is that the mummification process—

bicarbonate, chloride, sodium, sulfate, honey and wine, oil of borage,
liver and lungs packed in salt, the body covered in natron for forty days,

the brain removed through the nostrils with a single curved hook—
makes me very tired, or maybe it’s that hot, dry 100-mile journey

to a hidden cave, slaves dragging those impossibly sturdy tombs,
those libation dishes, spoonbill-adorned hair combs, tusk figurines

and recumbent lions, extravagance beyond measure heading
for the dark. I guess I’m lucky I’m not an Egyptologist, white-toga

and sandal clad, deciphering hieroglyphics, because then I’d be the one
who squealed on those who stumbled on the spoils. I wonder

if she made up the part about the pry bar, but really how much stranger
than a sky replete with a crab, a dragon, two bears, a swan?

Than a club-wielding guy in hot pursuit of a hare, a long band of leather
keeping his kilt from falling endlessly through the sky?

This selection comes from Martha Silano’s Reckless Lovely, available from Saturnalia Books. Purchase your copy here!

 Martha Silano is the author of four books of poetryincluding The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, chosen by Campbell McGrath as the winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and Reckless Lovely (Saturnalia Books 2014). She also co-edited, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice (Two Sylvias Press 2013). Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Paris Review, Poetry, Orion, American Poetry Review, and North American Review, where she received the 2014 James Hearst Poetry Prizeas well as in many anthologies, including American Poetry: The Next Generation and The Best American Poetry 2009. Martha serves as poetry editor of Crab Creek Review, curates Beacon Bards, a Seattle-based reading series, and teaches at Bellevue College.

 Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.